Pre-Conference Sessions



9:00 am – 12:00 pmEdible Native & Vegetable Perennial Plants for your Farm or Garden Why plant, weed, cultivate and water annual vegetables year after year when you can grow perennials that mimic the annuals, plant them once, and harvest them year after year with minimal labor? Attendees will learn about the growth habit, food value and aesthetic appeal of highly nutritious perennial vegetables, herbs, flowers and leaves in addition to potential markets for these carefree plants. We will also take a close look at Native perennial edibles. These plants range from trees to bushes, groundcovers, roots and even vines and provide edible nuts, fruits, berries, flowers, leaves and more! They are well adapted to our climate, have relatively few pest and disease problems, require minimal care, and provide habitat for native creatures. In this illustrated talk, Dani will describe the growth habit, preferred habitat, care required, food value, other uses, aesthetic appeal and propagation techniques for over 25 native perennial food plants you can grow on your farm. (Presenter: Dani Baker, The Enchanted Edible Forest & Cross Island Farms, Author of “The Home-Scale Forest Garden: How to Plan, Plant and Tend a Resilient Edible Landscape,” Wellesley Island, NY) $35
9:00 am – 12:00 pmAging Gracefully: Strategies for Transitioning off of the Farm Join us for a frank discussion and practical information on how to transition off the farm gracefully. This session will walk you through the legal and practical planning you need to transition farm and business ownership, along with the communication skills you may need to navigate difficult conversations and relationships. We will also open discussion on how you may like to provide opportunities for up-and-coming farmers to grow beyond the beginning farmer stage. Can we establish an equitable farm use agreement to the benefit of the farm owner and the next generation? (Presenters: Paul Goeringer, Agriculture Law Education Initiative, College Park, MD; Alex Chan, University of Maryland Extension, College Park, MD; Mike Klein, Good Fortune Farm, Brandywine, MD) 
2:00 pm – 5:00 pmFrom Ideas to Profits: Developing Successful Value-Added Products How can you transform your ideas and commodities into new value-added products? Instructors Al and Catherine Renzi, who founded and sold a successful cheesemaking business, will share their expertise during this intensive workshop. The workshop will begin with an overview of the value-added products industry, along with strategies for finding your own niche in the market. Then we will go into how to get a product onto shelves, navigate red tape, optimize sales, and how get the funding you need to take your business to the next level, with insight from industry veterans. (Presenters: Al and Catherine Renzi, Yellow Springs Farm, Talbot County, Maryland) $25
2:00 pm – 5:00 pmNourish Yourself! From Low Back to Burnout It’s not easy as farmers to take time to care for ourselves, but our wellbeing is critical. Make an investment in yourself and your farm or work, by considering ways you can better care for your physical and mental health in the long run. We’ve got a certified strength and conditioning specialist, a registered dietician, and mental health counselor on board. They will walk you through exercises for your Lower Back Pain(LBP), tips for improving and understanding your nutrition, and coping skills for burnout, anxiety, and depression. Come with your questions, and leave refreshed. (Presenters: Judeline Altema, Guidance of Hope LLC, Hanover, MD; LLarance Turner & Andre Watson, Howard University, Washington DC; Chimene Castor, Complete Nutrition & Howard University, Washington DC; Daphne Altema-Johnson, Center for a Livable Future & Howard University, Washington DC) $25